Wednesday, 23 May 2018

The Ghoul Prince

The Ghoul Prince is a 2nd level adventure by Zzarchov Kowolski. Art is by Alex Mayo (including cover). Cartography is by Dyson Logos. The publisher is DIY RPG Productions.

Disclosure: I have been offered a print copy of this product for free in exchange for this listing. I paid for the pdf version, and I would have made this listing anyway.

This adventure begins with an interesting premise. Note that I am not talking about the premise of the adventure itself, but the premise of how the adventure is written. The author writes:

"So this adventure is starting with a weird question I’ve been playing around with: how easy can you make it to slot a published adventure into the wildly different campaign settings of actual tables, without destroying all the flavour and actual value of that adventure as a useful tool."

"The idea is that there is a central frame of an adventure with a lot of set dressing that is used to cement it into a setting. The frame of the adventure is unchanging, while the set dressing is specifically labelled with an accompanying index so the GM can reference
notes with what is on the page.

These are not just cosmetic changes, and they do impact the play of the game."

This is an interesting framing device, but it takes space to convey. Examples of using this adventure location as a barrow, a desert tomb, and an alpine mausoleum are provided. There is space to create your own frame using these as examples. To make better use of the adventure, consider using the alternative frames when devising other sites of your own. By using bits and pieces of a given frame across several adventures, you can get full value for those you do not include as part of your version of The Ghoul Prince proper.

The Ghoul Prince himself is a great adversary, and is given appropriate (but easy to use) mechanics to promote his role in the adventure. The judge will may have to create stats for some creatures, although the author took this into consideration and offers the judge easy ways to avoid it.  Still, I prefer full statblocks be included for all creatures, and there lack herein is the only serious failing I see with the adventure as written. On the other hand, this does make the adventure easier to adjust for other level parties.

Overall, monsters and setting elements are good and flavorful, but if the judge doesn't do her prep work, she may find herself flipping pages - a lot! - during actual play. The pdf is password-protected, but content copying is allowed, so it would be possible to cut & paste the details you need into a single document, and then print it before game time. I would recommend this. I would also take the time to copy statblocks you might need from the core rulebook so that you don't need to look them up at the table.

By introducing some holograms and medical-superscience, this would also work well as a Mutant Crawl Classics adventure. The framing set-up would allow it to work with Crawljammer, Umerica, Transylvanian Adventures, or any other setting you might wish. It would even work well in something like Nowhere City Nights or the Brimstone of Black Powder, Black Magic.

The adventure also includes a full patron write-up for the Bone Lady: "a powerful demon that takes the form of an old crone. She haunts the wilderness around the tomb (in a regional sense) and appears only at night. When encountered or summoned, she will be next to a magically appearing crater filled with bones that she stirs and tends with a long pole. Anyone who peers into the pit to see its contents must make a DC 12 Will Save or be driven to dig out their own skeleton and add it to the pit, becoming frantically obsessed with doing so." 

This patron does not grant unique spells, but offers ones which already appear in the core rules.

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Tuesday, 22 May 2018

The Data Orb of Metakind

MCC #8: The Data Orb of Metakind was written by Jim Wampler, with additional writing by Tim Kask. Art is by Stefan Poag (cover), Tom Galambos, Friedrich Haas, Barrie James, Cliff Kurowski, Jesse Mohn, and Chad Sergesketter. The publisher is Goodman Games.

The Glowburn podcast has devoted two episodes to Pure Strain Humans in Mutant Crawl Classics. You can find them here and here. Questions get raised because part of the design of Mutant Crawl Classics is that artifacts will create part of the balance of the emergent game. This product is, in a way, an example of how to do so.

In a way, Quest For It may be even more important to Mutant Crawl Classics Pure Strain Human PCs than it is to Dungeon Crawl Classics PCs - but then, there are far more game-altering artifacts in the average Mutant Crawl Classics campaign to quest for. Strange items that might kill you, or might elevate you above the common lot of your kind, are as important to adventure design as are strange mutated creatures that probably want to kill you. Again, this product is a strong example of the kind of game-altering artifact the PCs might attempt to recover.

Because this is recent (at the time of this writing, available only to backers of the highly successful Mutant Crawl Classics kickstarter), further information will have to await a wider release.

For the first time, an entire 24-page supplement devoted to a single artifact of the Ancient Ones!

The most holy of ancient relics, The Data Orb of Metakind has been passed down between tribal shamans and mystic mutants from generation to generation for thousands of years. If you can successfully bond with the golden orb’s AI, tetrabytes of arcane technological data can be yours, if you but survive its use.

For while knowledge is power, it comes at a price.

Crawling Under A Broken Moon Compilation

The Crawling Under a Broken Moon Compilation was written by Reid San Filippo with guest authors Anna Costa, Benjamin Baugh, Bob Brinkman, Chris Tamm, Daniel J. Bishop, David Baity, David VC, Diogo Nogueira, Eric Fabiaschi, Jon Carnes, Kevin Searle, Nate Marcel, Quinn Coffman, R. Dale Bailey Jr, Ryan Moore, Sean Ellis, Talon Waite, and Tim Bruns. Original cover art is by Aaron “Nunkeymutts”, Brad Morris, Claytonian JP, James Yoder, Lee Anthony Deadpoolrus DeviantArt (CC BY SA3), Matt Hildebrand, Reid San Filippo, Sarah Richardson, Stu Rase, and Todd McGowan. Original interior art is by Aaron “Nunkeymutts”, Anna Costa, Brad Morris, Claytonian, CY, David Coppoletti, David Wayne Lutz, Diogo Nogueira, Frank Turfler Jr., Fred Dailey, H-Box, Hovig ghostontheshell DeviantArt CC BY-SA3, James Yoder, Lee Anthony Deadpoolrus DeviantArt (CC BY SA3), Mark Bulahao DeviantArt (CC BY ND3), Matt Hildebrand, Matt Jordan, Matthew Zatkoff, Maxime “ChaosFeeder” Beaulac, DeviantArt (CC BY-ND 3.0), Mitchell Hudson, Naam (naamaak.blogspot.com), Nate Marcel, Ray Otus, Reid San Filippo, Richard Tingley, Rick Kammer, Sarah Richardson, and Todd McGowan. The publisher is Shield of Faith Studios.

Disclosure: I am a Guest Author.

Inside you will find a new Foreword by Jim Wampler.

Following this there is a Table of Contents by Issue, followed by the immensely useful Alphabetical Monster Listings, Alphabetical PC Class Listings, and Alphabetical Locations Listings.

For more information on each issue, see individual listings:

Issue #1
Issue #2
Issue #3
Issue #4
Issue #5
Issue #6
Issue #7
Issue #8
Issue #9
Issue #10
Issue #11
Issue #12
Issue #13
Issue #14
Issue #15
Issue #16
Issue #17
Issue #18

The first four issues can also be found in Crawling Under a Broken Moon Zine Collection Volume 1, Issues 1-4.

Get It Here!




Blessings of the Vile Brotherhood

MCC #5: Blessings of the Vile Brotherhood is a 4th level Mutant Crawl Classics adventure by Harley Stroh. Art is by Doug Kovacs (including cover and cartography), Cliff Kurowski, Eric Lofgren, Jesse Mohn, and Stefan Poag. The publisher is Goodman Games.

Because this is recent (at the time of this writing, available only to backers of the highly successful Mutant Crawl Classics kickstarter), further information will have to await a wider release.

When your tribe’s prize possession — a functioning medibot — finally breaks down, your Seeker team is given a holy quest. Take the dead bot on a long and perilous journey to the the monks of The Holy Medicinal Order in hopes that their shamans can repair it. But the monks are not as the legends portray, and there is definitely something dark and dangerous going on in the holy monastery.

The Apocalypse Ark

MCC #6: The Apocalypse Ark is a 5th level Mutant Crawl Classics adventure by Brendan J. LaSalle. Art is by Stefan Poag (including cover and cartography), Tom Galambos, Jesse MohnRuss Nicholson,and Chad Sergesketter. The publisher is Goodman Games.

Because this is recent (at the time of this writing, available only to backers of the highly successful Mutant Crawl Classics kickstarter), further information will have to await a wider release.

The Ancients called it Beta Collection Unit NC-787.

Its mission – to find, collect, and categorize animals and plants, record their DNA, and when required, strip invasive mutant DNA from extant creatures to create genetically pure stock. Then the Great Disaster came. Beta Collection Unit NC-787 sat dead and inert for ages while the world evolved around it for thousands of years.

When stories of a rogue “smart metal” being the size of a mountain come to your village, no one takes them seriously, at least until the treaded 10-story-tall monstrosity begins cutting a gigantic swath through your hothouse jungle homeland. Invulnerable to even the mightiest mutations, your only hope to stop its menacing march is to find entry to its interior and access its power sources and sinister inhabitants.

Monday, 21 May 2018

A Fallen Star for All

MCC #2: A Fallen Star For All is a 1st level Mutant Crawl Classics adventure by Tim Callahan. Art is by Doug Kovacs (cover), Stefan Poag (including cartography), Friedrich Haas, Cliff Kurowski, Eric Lofgren, and Jesse Mohn. The publisher is Goodman Games.

Note that the interior title page lists this as a 5th level adventure, which would be quite different. I am guessing that this is a formatting error carried over from MCC #6: The Apocalypse Ark.

Because this is recent (at the time of this writing, available only to backers of the highly successful Mutant Crawl Classics kickstarter), further information will have to await a wider release.

A meteor strike in the taboo crater country opens up a huge chasm in which lies a largely intact city of the Ancient Ones. 

The resulting land rush to go claim the newly available cache of ancient artifacts draws interested parties from all over Terra A.D., and at the direction of your tribal elders, that includes you and your Seeker team.

Thursday, 17 May 2018

Crepuscular #1: Sanctum of the Snail

Crepuscular #1: Sanctum of the Snail was written  and illustrated by Joshua LH Burnett. The publisher is JLHB Polytechnic.

This zine focuses on events near and within Xöthma-Ghül, the Crepuscular City. The cover is fantastic, reminding one of a psychedelic black light poster that wouldn't look out of place in the 1970s.

Let's look inside.

Sanctum of the Snail: This is a 0-level funnel adventure designed to put the "fun" back in funnel. Not that Dungeon Crawl Classics funnels are not fun, but there is a sense of silly gonzo-ness to this adventure that is reminiscent of The Wizardarium of Calabraxis. If you know me, you know that this is high praise. While the encounters and the artwork suggest that a grain of salt be taken by everyone involved, the tone of the writing is actually serious, which hits just the right note.

It was a fairly pleasant trip until the storm hit. Your ship sank, and now you and the other survivors--peasants, pilgrims, and gongfarmers--are stuck on this jagged spire in the middle of the ocean. The storm rages all around you while monsters crawl out of the sea. It looks like the only way off this rock is down through that weird door. Who will live and who will die in this 0-level funnel adventure?

Moonblossom & Chance: Two-page comic strip. "The roguish adventures of Xöthma-Ghül’s favorite sword & sorcery couple."

Blorgamorg, the Chthonic Snail: "The Chthonic Snail patiently crawls through the hidden places below the earth, always chewing, always listening, always feeding on the secret wisdom of the world. Blorgamorg is a patient and wise entity, who eschews the petty conflicts of law and chaos. He prizes knowledge for the sake of knowledge. Lore sustains him. All secrets are known to him. Blorgamorg values servants who show tenacity, fortitude, and foresight. Rash and hasty minions displease him. Blorgamorg bitterly hates Bobububilz, and followers of the Chthonic Snail must always guard against the machinations of the Demon Lord of Amphibians."

A full patron write-up is provided.

Items of Interest: "Magical items to tempt or torment your crawlers." Included are two items:
  • The Learned Slug-in-a-Jar of Cornelius Plunk: "As its name indicates, this is a well-educated slug suspended in jar full of pink fluid that belonged to the sage Cornelius Plunk in Times of Old."
  • Flail of the Snail: "The Flail of the Snail is a haft of bronze surmounted by an iron head shaped like a snail shell. The grip is wrapped with slug leather, and two buttons are set along the haft."

Vagabond District: Thirty NPCs which might be used as hirelings or henchmen, not all of whom are 0-level schmucks. Some of them are very unusual, such as "Quvark, humanoid platypus" and "Xander-372, syntheric man".

Get It Here!